It is barely a year since a hard-hitting ANA report blew the lid off practices in which US advertising agencies were accused of keeping up to 20% of clients’ media budgets for themselves after engaging in “pervasive” kick-backs and rebates.
But that was just one of the controversies that has come to live under the moniker of ad industry “transparency”.
Speaking with Beet.TV in this video interview, one major agency chief now points the finger at other causes.
“The transparency debate was really kicked off by suspicion about the relationships between intermediaries like ourselves in the agency business and our customers … about how we made our money,” GroupM chief digital officer Rob Norman says.
“The debate has moved on considerably. People are very focused on supply chain transparency and the presence of fraud and other forms of invalid traffic such as viewability in the market.”
Some agencies have sought to demonstrate they are cleaning up not only their own practices but also are pushing to help clients navigate through a vendor ecosystem that can sometimes be rife with unviewable, fraudulent and unsafe inventory.
GroupM, for instance, appointed John Montgomery to a new role as EVP for brand safety.
There remains a swell of opinion in the industry that agencies should change their pricing structure to separate their service fees from actual media spending. demonstrating a greater commitment to transparency between agencies and their customers.
That is likely to be a topic discussed this week at DMEXCO, the big ad industry gathering in Cologne.
But Montgomery says GroupM is making in-roads to combating transparency.
“We always think we’re getting closer to getting it under control,” he says. “But it’s a bit like the Tour De France – the dopers are always quicker to the game than the detectors are. Each time we think we’re getting control of the situation, we find a new variation of fraud.
“It’s causing a considerable amount of alarm. Our compliance team has never been busier. The development of automation and tools is key area for us but with that comes even higher standards of compliance than we had before.”
This video is part a series that examines programmatic from both the seller and the buyer perspective. It is presented by PubMatic. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.